Envisioning the Tropics: Joseph Hooker in India and the Himalayas, 1848–1850

David Arnold

in Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780226164717
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226164700 | DOI:
Envisioning the Tropics: Joseph Hooker in India and the Himalayas, 1848–1850

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This chapter discusses Joseph Hooker's journey to India in 1848 and the extent to which it was initially inspired and subsequently described in terms of a conventional repertoire of tropical views. Hooker's prior apprenticeship as a naturalist and, especially, his experience of life at sea were instrumental in shaping his vision of the Indian landscape. His expectations of tropical scenery had a variety of literary and scientific sources, though his actual experience of travel through India often resulted in expressions of disappointment. The Himalayan foothills, with their combination of tropical and temperate flora, brought forth a variety of more Humboldtian associations. For Hooker, tropicality was something to be written about as much as measured or mapped, and his Himalayan Journals, reflected the aesthetic as well as the scientific impulses within Victorian natural history.

Keywords: tropics; naturalist; landscape; literary; flora; aesthetic; scientific

Chapter.  7201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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